Nigeria’s number three and five citizens, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, among others, on Thursday night got a taste of the indignities millions of others have had to live with: the jack-boot tendencies of overzealous security operatives.
Theirs, however, was way pleasant compared to what other citizens suffer, because of their high office.
Invited for a scheduled meeting on Budget 2018 with President Muhammadu Buhari, the top men of the National Assembly were allegedly advised to step down from a bus they came with for identification and body search at the gate before entering the nation’s seat of power.
It was a first for them in the 18 years old democracy. They were livid at the haughty but polite impudence of the security operatives.
They would have none of it, turned around the bus, and returned to the hallowed premises of their own official residence.
There was bedlam in the Villa as awaiting Buhari and his coterie of aides heard what transpired.
It took a personal phone call from President Buhari to Saraki and Dogara for both men and other lawmakers to return.
And after the meeting, the media team of the President made a show of the reconciliation as the President led his guests out.
Also with Saraki and Dogara, at the gate drama were Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, and the Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other lawmakers.
The National Assembly leaders earlier came together in a Toyota Coaster bus.
Said a source, “The National Assembly felt asking them to come down from the bus was embarrassing.
“This embarrassment happened in spite of the fact that security personnel could see clearly that these were National Assembly leaders.
“Besides, they drove there in the official vehicle of the National Assembly with the logo of the legislature.
“While this was going on, the security personnel put a call to the (office of the Chief Security Officer to the President and he too (allegedly) told them not to let the Senate President and the other officials into the villa.
“In annoyance, the leaders drove angrily from of the gate of the villa back to Saraki’s House.
“It was while they were on their way that some officials later rushed from the villa to meet, trying to pacify them.
“But, they were already angry; so, they (said the) meeting could not take place any longer.”
It was gathered that the disagreement was settled when the President called and apologised to Saraki and Dogara.
“He promised to get to the root of the matter,” according to Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang.
He added: “There was a little break in communications at the gate but the matter has since been resolved. Mr. President had dinner with the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. And another meeting is scheduled to hold next Tuesday.”